“The UAE has played a major role in enabling me to develop innovative technologies”

Amber&Wassem interview
Waseem Ashraf Qureshi
Image Credit: Supplied

Could you tell us a bit on Kilowatt Labs and Infusion Group, highlighting a few key milestones in your journey as an entrepreneur?

While I was developing the supercapacitor storage technology in 2015, my first major breakthrough came when I was able to convince a supercap manufacturer to collaborate with me in developing very high density supercap cells (existing supercap cells have very low density and are not suitable), which could only be controlled by the algorithm-based electronics I had developed. I had very difficult and time-consuming discussions with several manufacturers, before one of them agreed, but it allowed me to transfer my lab research to building real products. When we launched the Sirius product, we exhibited at WFES in Abu Dhabi in 2016 and were able to secure distributorship in South Africa. The second major highlight of my journey was the formation of Infusion Power and Infusion Solar Energy Systems through which we have successfully raised capital to fund our development and manufacturing through our reseller Greenfox in the UAE. We are now negotiating with institutional investors for the next phase of our journey to increase market penetration all over the world and launch our EV and high-voltage grid storage products. In the EV space, we have successfully achieved 5-minute charging time and are now testing EVs in Dubai that are retrofitted with supercap storage. Our next expected milestone is completing the development of our solid state supercap cells.

The UAE has always encouraged innovation. As a leader of the company, how do you create a culture of innovation at Infusion Group?

The UAE does indeed foster an environment of innovation and I can say with certainty that it has played a major role in enabling me to develop these technologies. Through this encouragement, I have been able to build the largest R&D in power electronics team in the Gulf. I am an inventor and innovator at heart and this reflects in the culture of my companies.

Without an innovative approach, transforming an industry is impossible. Innovation must be in the DNA of the company, otherwise, global success is improbable. To drive innovation in my companies, I encourage the sharing of ideas amongst all the teams. I demand passionate thinking; I foster courage to think outside the box and I advocate that failure is a lesson and not a setback and only the bold fail because they dare to go beyond the conventional systems. I promote humility, because unless we are humble, we cannot be open to ideas, and I have set up organisational processes that enable innovation throughout my organisations.

What initiatives have you taken to help the UAE increase energy efficiency?

I have been speaking to utilities companies to discuss ways on how Sirius supercap storage can be deployed in the network for more efficient utilisation of grid capacity. These practices are increasingly deployed in global markets and I am hopeful that I can share the insights of our experiences gained in those markets with the UAE. We are currently working with Etisalat on optimising energy in their BTS tower sites in the UAE. The ultimate goal is to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels by using supercap batteries and reduce generator routine and enhance the impact of renewables.

The past 11 months have been difficult for everyone across the globe. The pandemic affected almost every industry in some shape. How did you manage to sail through the crisis?

We sailed through the crisis through our resellers and stockists in each market. The key to my success has always been to innovate, work hard and work smart and during this crisis, it was important to stick to these key values. We are one of the fortunate companies who actually grew their global footprint during this crisis and I am proud of the fact that much of this growth was organic and through the hard work of my team.

What kind of innovations or strategies have you implemented to drive revenues and generate new opportunities?

We are constantly researching, nurturing and investing in both new markets and new industries. For instance in 2019 and 2020, we pushed our microgrid systems enabling villages and hospitals to utilise energy harvested from solar power. In 2021, we will be launching Sirius Power Wall, the world’s most advanced domestic solution for solar and renewable energy, as well as our low carbon footprint digital generator.

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